Friday, January 02, 2015

2014 in Review

Another crafty year is on the books, my friends!  I hope 2015 is equally full of fun projects!

I made 2 cross stitch ornaments.

I knit 3 sweaters, 3 scarves, 3 shawls, 1 hat, 2 cowls, and 1 penguin.  I crocheted 1 scarf, 1 pair of booties, and 1 shawl.  And I wove 2 scarves.

I played with wool felt embroidery for the first time and made 15 (not all pictured) Snowbirds as gifts for my family and friends at Christmas.  I loved this so much that I will be doing more in 2015 and also want to try wool felt applique.

And I did some sewing and quilting.  I made more bags than are pictured here.  In addition to these, I made 2 Stitch & Stash bags and a Divided Basket.  I also sewed a corduroy bunny as a baby gift.  For quilts, I finished 4 this year but don't have final photos of the last two--the triangle quilt and the Christmas Cogs quilt.  I managed to finish just 1 UFO this year, which was the X & Plus quilt.  I hope to finish a couple more in 2015.

My goals for 2015 are really to just keep making things and finish some unfinished things! 

Friday, December 05, 2014

This Is Cassidy

Ever since I had my colors done through Color Me Beautiful last fall, I have been a little (lot?) obsessed with the idea of having sweaters in "my colors."  Most of the sweaters I have knit (read: all but a couple) are in colors that are not my most flattering.

Then came the debate.  I had two patterns and two yarns and which sweater was I going to do first?  I decided to start with the one that I thought would require the most modifications--Cassidy.  Then I could sort of "zone out" (ha!) on the other one.

Cassidy Front

When I look at a sweater pattern, I look at the pattern photo and then what people on Ravelry look like in that sweater to see what I will have to modify.  I know now that I always have to make the sleeves shorter and the shoulders narrower.  On this pattern, the sleeves also looked large in circumference on the model and some of the knitters who made it.  The problem is that if you make the sleeve narrower, how do you change the sleeve cap shaping?  When you change the size of the sleeve and the cap, you also have to change the size of the armhole on the body of the sweater.

These types of modifications require math I didn't even know how to do but I found an article on and then a Craftsy class on Handknit Garment Design by Shirley Paden.  All I can say is Thank you, God, for Shirley Paden.  There was a lot of math to be done, but with her class, I was able to make a very fine sleeve and it fit in just perfectly to the armhole.  I can't recommend this class enough.  When I had a question, she answered it thoroughly and quickly.  I also bought her book and it is excellent.  It has made me feel confident enough that I would like to try designing my own sweater in the not distant future.

I made a lot of modifications to Cassidy--some of which worked out really well and others that didn't work out as I had hoped.  If you would like to read a bit more about what I changed and what worked and did not, you can check out my project page on Ravelry.

Remarkably, this sweater only took me a little over a month to knit and, believe me, there was A LOT of ripping and re-knitting to get the sizing right.  I was getting a bit of tendonitis and had to take a knitting break after I finished.

I am now working on the other sweater, Miss BB.  I actually knit this sweater years ago (see here) but I think the sweater was knit too loosely--it droops, is a bit too big, the sleeves are way too long and then the shoulders are so wide on me that the sleeve seam droops down my shoulders, making the sleeves even longer.  

So you know how I joked about zoning out on this sweater?  Not.  I have re-knit the first part of the sleeve five times now to try and get it the right width.  Mostly, it seems too narrow.  I am knitting it at a tighter gauge than called for, which is making it a little more difficult.  I am hoping the fifth time is a charm!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

All Red and Orange Yarn Here

You'd think I am a someone else with all the red and orange yarn I have been working with lately!

Exhibit A:

Cascading Cables Cowl

Cascading Cables Cowl by Kim Miller
Yarn: Zen Yarn Garden Serenity Silk in Blood Orange, 2 skeins
Hook: 2.25mm (B)
My Ravelry Project Page

There is nothing like a brilliant pattern design to make you wish you'd thought of it! :)  This was a fun project to make and I loved that there were written instructions, a chart, and information about changing the width. 

I made a scarf rather than a cowl because the twisted stitch pattern looked more striking in this yarn when hanging down rather than wrapped in a circle around my neck.

I don't know if I have gotten really laid back with my crochet or what but my gauge on the recommended hook was way too big.  I had to go down about 2 hook sizes and take off one repeat of the pattern in order to get about the same width of scarf.

This was a shop sample for a class I taught this summer.  My students were brilliant and caught on so quickly!

Exhibit B:

I want to go to Brighton!

The Way from Brighton by Joji Locatelli
Madelinetosh Tosh DK in Scarlet, 2 Skeins
Needle?  What needle?
Ravelry Project Page

This was in my queue a long time and then my friend Leslie made one and then I wanted to make it even more.  Finally, I got around to it at the end of last year.  This is one of those knits that lives up to all of your expectations.  I liked everything about it and felt sad when it was over.  I wasn't sure anything else I knit would ever be quite that fun. 

Exhibit C:

Groovy Shawl

Groovy by Jumper Cables Knitting
Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light, Robin Red Breast, 2 skeins
Needle: again, I forgot
Ravelry Project Page

I was inspired by Joan to knit this clever pattern.  Two skeins of sock yarn is a lot of knitting.  I decided not to block it because I liked the texture unblocked.

Exhibit D:

Spot Lace pattern from The Weaver's Idea Book
Cobasi Hikoo by Skacel, one skein in red-orange, one skein orange
10 dent reed, Ashford Knitter's Loom

I challenged myself to play with color and pick up in weaving this summer and was working on a sampler out of The Weaver's Idea Book.  I fell in love with this spot lace pattern.  The book is great.  My only gripe is that it does not indicate how many threads are needed to create a repeat.  I read somewhere later that this is considered an intermediate book.  I still think it should have this kind of information, just like any knitting or crochet stitch pattern book would.  

So I sat down with my weaver friend Meredith and we spent a LOT of time trying to figure out how to modify this pattern to a scarf to the width I wanted and how that would affect the pick up pattern.  My notes are on my project page linked above.

This yarn was great to work with!

Are you working in a certain color or group of colors lately? 

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

X and Plus Quilt Finish

Or maybe it is called Plus and X?  I can't keep it straight.  I was trying to figure out what project to blog about next and I looked back over my blog and realized I've posted practically nothing.  So anything goes!

Japanese + and x UFO

This quilt was begun a few years ago.  I made 9 blocks and then it went into the bin of UFOs.  I brought it back out this spring to show my friends the blocks and they were instantly excited about the project.  I resolved it was time to get back to it.

It was fun selecting fabrics.  I laid them out together and tried to decide whether I liked a grouping or not.  It was so cool to finish a block and see how the prints and colors worked together.  The fabrics I had guarded jealously in my stash were raided.  If I loved it, I should try to fit it into this quilt. 

Man, it was hard to piece this precisely.  I got better at it but I felt like I must be missing some trick for accurately piecing the X pieces of the block.  I had to toss a few of the original 9 blocks because they were 1/8 an inch or more off.  I tossed another block because even after three years, I still thought it was ugly!  I debated: throw size or wall hanging?  In the end, I decided I was done once I had this layout.  Making a throw would have taken me quite a while and I am kind of trying finish up UFOs.  Heh.

I tried to quilt this so that the plus shape would pop out.  I used a variegated YLI thread.  It seems to be one of my go to threads when making a quilt with a wide range of colors and shades.  After I saw a gorgeous X and Plus quilt done in waves, I kind of wished I had done the same.  I am going to try that pattern on a triangle quilt I have basted.

Photo by Cynthia Spencer

It feels great to have this done and hanging up on the wall!

Sunday, August 31, 2014


Time to play catch up on the blog! 

I finished knitting Cinnie at the end of June.   The yarn is SO soft!

Cinnie Back

This was a fast, fun and easy knit.  I didn't have to make any modifications other than going down a needle size to knit the bottom ribbing.  It seemed like it was curling up so I thought it might lay flatter with a tighter stitch.

The sweater construction is interesting.  You knit the back middle panel, pick up stitches along one side and cast on more to create one front side and sleeves.  After you finish one side, you do the same to the other side of the panel for the other front and sleeve.  After the top portion is completed, pick up around the bottom edge of the top to knit the rest of the sweater.

Sweater Stats:
Photos by Cynthia Spencer
Pattern: Cinnie by Chic Knits
Yarn: Simplicity by Hikoo
Needles: 6 and 5, (size 4 for bottom ribbing)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Right and the Wrong

Or, the crazy things my mind does to me.

Sometimes fabric becomes too precious.  We try to save it for the perfect project.  I have been thinking about this problem lately as I plan to make a quilt, "Fractured", from Kathy Doughty's book, Making Quilts.  I saw the pattern and instantly thought of a roll of Kaffe Fasset fabric at my local quilt shop.  I thought about that roll of fabric for months and tried to plan one or more fabrics to coordinate with it.  Finally, this month, I bought it!  I envisioned the blue/purple/green Kaffe fabrics with a black and white text print.  It seemed perfect and I was happy.

Last week, I started thinking about Kaffe's style and the organic shapes and worried that maybe the black and white text print would be too edgy or somehow "wrong" for my project.  What if friends who looked at it thought I made a bad choice?  What if my mom didn't like it?  I began to reconsider my choice.  Then another voice in my head told me I should do it just because it was something I felt like doing and who cared what other people thought as long as I liked it?

So I have been feeling a bit stuck.  Not that I can start the project right now anyway--I am still collecting a few more fabrics I need (plus whatever contrasting fabric(s))--but I feel like I can't start this quilt.  My compromise, I think, is to make one or two blocks with some of the fabric I had in mind and see what I think.

Contemplating a combination
The black and white text is so awesome and nonsensical.  It reminds me of magnetic poetry.

If you are ever plagued with doubts about a quilt, do you worry that a particular person will dislike it?  Do you have problems with the preciousness of fabrics or can you just cut right into them without concern?

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Spring Shifting

As I was eating breakfast this morning the sun rose above the tree tops and shone in my face.  I get very little direct sunlight in my apartment and I can't remember the last time that happened, though I have the faint recollection that it did happen.

I am preparing to cast on for a new spring/summer sweater!

The pattern is Cinnie by Chic Knits (my go to designer for sweater patterns).  I am using Simplicity by Hikoo.  Note the presence of the gauge swatch in the picture below!  I never knit a sweater without checking my gauge.  I got gauge on the recommended needle size (unusual for me) and have the swatch blocking.

 Here is a more accurate photo of the yarn color.

Everything I have made lately has been red or orange.  Winter makes me want to work with very warm colors.  The other reason is that I used to think I couldn't wear orange and I could wear red if it was a blue red.  My friend, Cynthia Spencer, became a Color Me Beautiful consultant this fall and did my colors.  Some of the colors and shades I was wearing were wrong because I thought I was a winter (though I didn't follow those color rules strictly) and I wore cooler colors but I should have been wearing warm colors.  All those years I thought I couldn't wear orange (well, I still shouldn't wear athletic team orange) and it turns out that I look good in orange!  Ha ha!

Color Me Beautiful now has a computer system to help determine which are your best colors. The consultant matches your eye, skin and hair color to color cards, and also uses color drapes (swatches of fabric) to check your season and then puts the info in the computer.  It tells you what type of season you are.  I opted to order my color palette which is a little set of cards with my 40 best colors/shades.

I can't tell you how much easier it is to shop for clothes or yarn now.  The colors of my clothes actually look good together.  I do have a lot of yarn that isn't really in my best colors.  I may sell some of it on eBay and use some of it to play around with in weaving.  At least now I have a good excuse to buy more yarn, right? ;)  The color palette is also good inspiration for quilting.

Speaking of quilting, I joined a Kaffe and Friends block of the month hosted by my LQS.  I am a little behind because I just finished the block for January.  Oops! :)